by Steve Panizza
We learn that a pandemic does not cause change. Instead, a pandemic accelerates change that was already taking place. I recently converted my business to a limited liability corporation named "Gorham Street Pipe Organ Company." I understand what Gorham Street is, but you might not.
While someone else puts their name on the second organ I built now that it's moving locations, I can still claim its intellectual property and put that to good use. I explain Gorham Street by repurposing the instrument's original design.
I created this organ from a concept that blended an eighteenth-century cabinet organ design typical of David Tannenberg and others with an Alsatian tonal scheme.
The installation proved the effectiveness of a one-manual, divided stop instrument for use in liturgy.
Bourdon 8' (51 notes, divided at c 25)
Flute 4' (51 notes, divided at c 25)
Nasard 2 2/3' (27 notes, c 25 to d 51)
Doublette 2' (51 notes, divided at c 25)
Tierce 1 3/5' (51 notes, c 25 to d 51)
Fourniture I (c 1 to d 51, not divided)
Cromorne 8' (25 notes, c 1 to b 24)
51 notes, manual.
27 notes, pull-down pedal.
47 mm Wind Pressure.
Gorham Street builds off work I did with the House of Hope Ducroquet. The Ducroquet let me see beyond the late Agrarian period I was familiar with and into the emerging urban Industrial-Romantic era that followed. Within that time would be an organ normal to pianist Frédéric Chopin. So let me reimagine my second organ as such an instrument for you.
Basse de Bourdon 8' (c 1 to b 24, stopped wood)
Dessus de Flûte ouverte 8' (f 18 to d 51, open wood)
Dessus de Viole 8' (f 18 to d 51)
Basse de Flûte 4' (c 1 to b 24)
Dessus de Prestant 4' (f 18 to d 51)
Dessus de Flûte 4' (f 18 to d 51, potentially triangular)
Doublette 2' (notes 1 - 51)
Bass de Cromorne 8' (c 1 to b 24)
Dessus de Nasard 2 2/3' ( c 25 to d 51)
Dessus de Tierce 1 3/5' (c 25 to d 51)
This one manual cabinet organ design offers an exceptional variety of registrational possibilities. The 8' and 4' stops, which break at tonal-f, represent those from the emerging Industrial-Romantic era. The upper work and reed represent the late Agrarian era. Accurate pipe scales, voicing, and wind pressure produce a unified tonal design if you get all that correct, which brings me back to my first point.
A pandemic accelerates change that was already taking place. More and more, social media sites list pipe organ material for sale because there are churches that did not survive the pandemic. Congregations found it challenging to realize that the times they held onto no longer exist, with the organs located within their buildings often built from and for a time that similarly no longer exists. I see pipework available and ready to revoice and repurpose for use in a Gorham Street cabinet organ commission.
Gorham Street repurposes history and tradition. A Gorham Street cabinet organ combines late Agrarian with emerging urban Industrial-Romantic. Gorham Street provides a cost-effective instrument using common platform design architecture and the reasonable use of extant pipework.
Gorham Street is progressive, collaborative, and sustainable.
A page at this site titled A Call for Offers describes a cabinet organ design ready for commission by someone serious about progressive change within the organ culture and its music.
by Steve Panizza
When I began college, I had a choice between music or engineering majors. I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The Parkside approach to engineering was innovative and allowed me the opportunity to develop my imagination and creative side in an undergraduate-focused program.
I could also spend time at nearby Carthage College in their prestigious organ program. With its four-manual baroque-inspired mechanical action pipe organ, their program would provide opportunities and connections that would nurture and influence my later development as a pipe organ builder.
Principles of history are very much a part of my pipe organ design process. Along with true artisanship, their application to each new instrument helps achieve an enduring result. Mechanical key and stop action, natural voicing, and a free-standing solid hardwood case are part of that tradition. Examples I study include noteworthy European baroque instruments and early American builders like David Tannenberg and Thomas Appleton, whose work I value for its softer voicing technique and use of wood pipes.
The organ's rich history has produced an enormous evolution of different styles and technologies. I think the best argument for my work is found within these pages. These are writings that I hope will help potential clients develop their own ideas, do better research, start some constructive dialog, and make an informed decision relevant to their needs.